A decline in coal-fired power generation helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 3%.Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3 per cent last year from 2016 levels, largely due to a decline in coal-fired power generation and marking the fifth straight yearly drop, preliminary government data shows.
Output of the heat-trapping gases in Europe’s second-largest emitter behind Germany fell to 456 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said on Thursday.
The data shows Britain’s emissions have fallen 43 per cent since 1990, meaning it is more than halfway towards meeting a legally binding target to cut its emissions by 2050 to 80 per cent below 1990 levels.
A breakdown of the 2017 figures showed emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for climate change, fell 3 per cent to 367 million tonnes.
Energy-sector CO2 emissions fell by 8 per cent as coal-fired power production dropped, and was replaced by record output from renewables such as wind and solar.
Separate provisional data, released by BEIS on Thursday, showed power generation from coal plants fell 26 per cent in 2017 to 21.36 terawatt hours (TWh), making up less than 7 per cent of Britain’s total electricity supply.
Britain plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025 unless they are fitted with technology to capture and store carbon emissions.
Earlier this month, it also rejected plans for a new open cast coal mine in northeastern England on climate grounds.
Gas-fired power generation fell almost 6 per cent in 2017, while renewable power generation from wind and solar soared, the data showed.
Wind power rose 33 percent to a record 40.9 TWh while solar generation was up 43 per cent to a record 2.9 TWh.